Research and innovation are chain reactions of collaboration. It is hence important to work collaboratively to increase both the value of academic work and its impact on innovation. Yet, what does it actually mean to work collaboratively, especially when it comes to reading? Explore with PaperHive the advantages of collaborative reading with enriched content, community proofreading, and digital discussions.
Knowing the Background: Enriched Content
Research can be seen as a vast network – millions of articles and books linked through references. One article alone can only provide one perspective on a discrete piece of knowledge. To get the full picture, background and contextual information matter.
Working collaboratively means, connecting the dots once for the benefit of all readers. For instance, this can be information about previous results that lead to a discovery, a significant theory that changed the perspective of the researcher, or even trivia like the reward of a Nobel Prize for the specific research you are currently reading.
Collaborative Reading: Digital Discussions
Even more important than mere background information are the perspectives of other readers. Like in a debate club, meaning does not exist through the voice of one speaker, but with the synergy of several perspectives.
In research, collaborative reading refers to living articles: when research is published, the information that it inhibits is only one perspective on a result – other researchers might have other perspectives while others again feel the need to clarify certain issues. Digital discussion tools provide the technology for all these purposes, enabling readers to go on working on research even beyond its publication.
The workload of researchers is high. And so is the workload of editors who try to make the most of a researcher’s publication. Yet, when collaborating, the effort can be driven down and the work gets more efficient. Especially monographs and longer articles need a lot of proofreading – for both formatting and meaning. While working on a document one after another takes time and effort, editors save time and energy working collaboratively on the same doc.
See for instance Lang Sci Press’ proofreading of the book “Annotation, exploitation and evaluation of parallel corpora”. Not only can the editors see who’s already spotted mistakes. Authors and other researchers can also help improve the quality of the publication with contextual support. Thus, the process of editing a whole book becomes more effective, irrelevant of where and when the editor works. In addition to the benefit of the publisher, community proofreading helps getting the right information published – for the improvement of science.
Conclusively, as attributed to Isaac Newton, “if I had seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”. Digital tools enable researchers to have an even better understanding of all the giants surrounding them.